Alice In Wonderland, The Barn Theatre, Southwick, until January 12, call 01273 597094

First published in The Critic by

Mathematician Lewis Carroll altered time and space for Alice In Wonderland; playwright Mike Carter altered dimensions to put her on stage, now in a new production at The Barn Theatre, Southwick.

Julian MacDowell, in his directorial debut, produced a wondrous amalgam of pantomime, drama and children’s fairytale as introduction to the Victorian classic. It stands up well in an internet age – partly due to the fantastically ingenious staging, which features a giant book as central set device; partly thanks to the perfectly whimsical costumes and props, hilariously sported by Tweedles Dee and Dum, rabbits, mock turtles and various rodents.

But, as so often at the Barn Theatre, it is the accomplished stage skills of the actors which bring the production to life.

Anna Gould as Alice (a part shared with Katy Mattmann) was spectacular, managing to be feistily independent while remaining charming. Barbara Isaacs was a good, noisy cook, Helen Morris was entertainingly brutal and Ian Bond made more of a Mock Turtle than even Carroll could have wished for.

New songs and old words; young players and real actors; live music and audience competition – “Jam today,” as The Red Queen never said.

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